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State has ideal climate for organic production

First Oregon blueberries harvested this week

“We are one of the first companies to start harvesting blueberries in Oregon,” says Aaron Ensign, President of Curry & Company. The state’s blueberry harvest kicks off the second week of June and continues into September. Ensign is very content about the growing season. “Mother Nature has cooperated, and we are getting good size on our early varieties such as Dukes. We are excited for harvest to start,” he added. A mild winter with minimal cold damage and ideal pollinating and ripening weather has resulted in a strong blueberry volume forecast from Oregon.

Geographic spread
Curry & Company has blueberry fields in the southern part of the state, which are typically the first berries of the season to be harvested. The company’s Oregon plantings continue north into the famed Willamette Valley growing region. “The geographic spread gives us a full season of harvest on both conventional and organic blueberries.” In addition, a state-of-the-art cooling system enables shipment of blueberries into late September and early October.

Unique climate
A unique climate makes Oregon the 4th largest blueberry growing state in the US. Mild winters make for stable volumes year after year with very small chance of catastrophic crop failure. “In addition, warm and dry summer days and cool evenings are the perfect recipe for growing sweet, plump and firm textured berries,” Ensign shared. No humidity and hardly any rain in summer significantly reduces the pressure from mold/mildew issues and insects. As a result, the state’s growing conditions are ideal to grow blueberries organically. “Organic blueberries are an important part of our program,” said Ensign. “Currently, the organic category represents about 20 percent of our total volume, but it continues to grow. Demand for organic blueberries has remained high and we continue to see growth opportunities,” he added.

Global distribution
Curry & Company is a year-round supplier of blueberries. The fruit is distributed across North America, as well as several countries around the world that are serviced from the company’s offices in Oregon, California and Chile. “We are currently seeing good demand on the East Coast for Northwest blueberries due to our reputation for superior quality, steady volumes and our consistent weather. We have been fortunate to avoid some of the challenges that have faced other blueberry growing regions this year,” Ensign mentioned. Outside North America, demand from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the EU and UK continues to grow. 

“In general, the demand for both organic and conventional blueberries have continued to grow for countless reasons,” Ensign said. The strong health message is a leading factor as blueberries are a ‘superfood’: they are high in antioxidants, help fight cancer, can alleviate inflammation and are packed with essential vitamins. “Add the health benefits to the growing number of consumers that want organic fruit and we see why demand continues to grow.” 

For more information:
Aaron Ensign
Curry & Company
Tel: (+1) 503-393-6033

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